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wigan 1000x500Wigan, famous for its Pier, Casino, pies, Rugby League, Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls and a football club once owned by someone who broke his leg in an FA Cup Final, is the venue tomorrow for the first team’s final away game of this pre-season following on from the games at Crewe Alexandra, Port Vale and Fleetwood Town.

Three days ago, at Fleetwood, the home team manager received an outstanding reception from the travelling Burnley supporters and I hope it is the same tomorrow. I still believe Paul Cook was Stan Ternent’s best signing for Burnley and I do think he was one of the main reasons for that incredible improvement in form in the last run of games that saw us avoid relegation back to the basement division of the Football League.

He’s been gone for 16 years now and has built himself a bit of a reputation as a manager. It didn’t start particularly well at Southport but he’s since been in charge at Sligo, Accrington, Chesterfield and Portsmouth before moving to Wigan two summers ago since when he’s taken them up to the Championship and kept them up.

Cooky was with us for over four years but he’s not the only one at Wigan who has a Burnley past. Defender Danny Fox joined them from Nottingham Forest in the last transfer window and he said of his time at Turf Moor: “Burnley is a place I hold in very high regard. I played with the likes of Graham Alexander, Steven Caldwell, Clarke Carlisle and Wade Elliott. I’ve nothing but good memories about Burnley.”

He added: “I signed for Burnley in the January after they got promoted to the Premier League the first time and it was a massive step at the time. The foundations were being laid when I was there for the sustainability they’ve achieved. Sean (Dyche) has taken the club to a completely different level.

“It’s just really nice to see Burnley do so well and hold their own. It makes me happy to see them doing so well, especially because my old team mate from Burnley and Southampton, Jack Cork, is still there. I always look out for the results and hope they win.”

Wigan will be bringing an end to their pre-season which started with a 7-1 win at Chester. A 1-0 loss at AFC Fylde followed after which they won 1-0 at Macclesfield and drew 1-1 at Bradford City before drawing 0-0 at home against Everton this week.

They will probably be looking to put out the team they want to field next week when they kick off their league season at home against Cardiff. We are still a further week away but Sean Dyche said he’ll be looking to move things on again following Tuesday’s win at Fleetwood.

“That’s the idea. We are taking it up another notch,” he said. “You think it might be tougher in the sense that they are in the Championship, but we have worked the players hard again this week. We haven’t gone into that true game thinking yet where it’s building up tactically with rest and getting ready to perform.

“We are still working on fitness levels, but after Wigan it will start easing down in terms of it being more tactical, more game style and more game preparation thinking.”

Back to Wigan and Cook said about the games against Everton and us: “Burnley will be another tough game. Sometimes I look back on arranging these games and think ‘why have I done that?’. It seemed like a good idea in April and May.

“Sean’s got a very good side. He’s done so well as a manager with Burnley. They’re an outstanding, well established Premier League team, so we need to rest, recover and hopefully put in a good performance. Maybe a couple of goals as well, because that’s what the fans want to see.”

Burnley fans wishing to attend can pay on the day. They are charging £15 for both adults and seniors while under-18s pay £5 with a charge of £2 for under-12s.

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